SUMMERTIME in Negros Occidental does not only mean hiking, getting tan at beaches or going uplands. For us Negrenses, summertime is also synonymous to a weeklong convergence of local art, culture, and lifestyle.
The Panaad sa Negros Festival, or commonly known as “Panaad Festival,” it us a seven-day showcase of the best food, products, dances, songs, and other tourism attractions of 19 towns and 13 cities of Negros Occidental, including its capital, Bacolod City.
My daily walk would often include the wide Panaad Park and Stadium inBrgy. Mansilingan. I would jog around the shady areas and see all the creative pavilions. It is refreshing to see replicas of heritage sites of different places in Negros. It is a display of our people’s ingenuity and creativity. After all, Negros is one place in the Philippines where art and culture is very active in all corners of the island.
This early, with three more weeks ago, preparations for the 22ndPanaad Festival on April 13 to 19 are on a roll. For instance, the towns of Murcia and Hinigaran are coming up with new structures in their pavilions. The cities of Sagay, Talisay and Silayhave started their Panaad 2015 preparations with some repainting and landscaping jobs. I am quite interested about Bago City’s pavilion this time after seeing some laborers consistently cleaning the roof and their parameters. As for me, I am more interested in seeing displays rather than witnessing the annual pageant competition.
For someone who has no energy to explore the mountains of Calatrava or dip in the waters of Ilog and Kabankalan, it is a pleasing experience to see it being replicated in a place that would cost me less.
In Murcia Tourism, they will treat visitors with an interactive and colorful display of Murcia’s rich history and cultural heritage, and highlighting their people’s accomplishments. Expectedly, Alfredo Montelibano Sr., the leader of the Free Negros Movement and Murcia’s living legend, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, will have their fair share of space and recognition in the pavilion. Local produce, which Murcia is known for, will surely entice people to buy local products in the Mini-Tinabu-ay Market section.
Visitors will be enticed to take a “selfie” or a “groufie” with the artistic interpretation of Mambukal and flower gardens of Murcia as post-card perfect backdrops.
This year’s theme, “Negros: One Island, One Dream” is very apt in promoting the battle cry of our provincial leaders to promote the unification of two Negros Islands as one region.
And so I invite you to include PanaadFestival in your summer activities. It is one time of the year that we get to experience the beauty of Negros Occidental without having to literally travel the whole province. Moreover, learning and re-learning about our local cultures is just as exciting when you do it in the confines of Panaad Park.